First off, yes this is late. But to be fair to all the wonderful films of 2015, I decided to use most of January to catch up on any movies I may have missed over the last year. And I was very glad I did, because there was plenty of amazing films of 2015 I didn’t see in 2015. Now without further ado, and in no particular order, here we go!
(Note: The title reads favourite, not best. Consider that before you angrily comment.)
(Second note: While I did try to catch up, some films I still didn’t get around to. Sorry Brooklyn, Carol and whatever else I didn’t see.)
(Third note: Last one, I promise. I’m only including films that had their initial release date in 2015. So sorry to Whiplash and What We Do in the Shadows but your time for glory has past.)
CBatman’s Top 10 Favourite Films of 2015
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
While I will admit it just barely snuck on (hence it missing from the featured image), that doesn’t make Me and Earl and the Dying Girl any less of a charming little movie. Dying Girl follows Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) who is forced to befriend Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke) when she is diagnosed with cancer. Sure, from the premise alone you can probably predict how its going to play out, and while you’d be right, there is still a lot of inventiveness nestled amongst the stereotypical story conventions. Its warm, funny, insightful and packs some of my biggest personal emotional wallops of the year.
Bloody hell, this is a ridiculously impressive film. As a visual and technical marvel alone, The Revenant earned its place on my favourites of 2015, but even on top of that the film boasts incredible performances, stunning cinematography and might finally be the film to break Leo’s Oscar drought. Sure its a 2.5 hour slog, but one that’s worth enduring at least once.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
The only reason a film like Kingsmen gets onto my list is because of how ridiculously fun it is. Sure its crude, unoriginal and a bit simplistic. But it doesn’t need to be anything more: Kingsmen is solely focused on created a rollickingly enjoyable ride for the audience, and it delivers. From Colin Firth’s comedic twist to Vaughn’s action scenes, the quick humour and also that church scene (if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about), Kingsmen is just bloody entertaining. I respect it for knowing what it wants to be, and will probably see it for the fifth time in the immediate future.
Thank the heavens for Joel Edgerton’s hidden talent. I’ve always liked him as an actor, but when I discovered he wrote, starred and directed his own movie I was hesitant. The Gift was effectively his directorial debut, discounting two previous short films, and nothing I had seen him in suggested he was anything more than a good actor. Which is why I was so blown away by how good The Gift really was. Its tense, unsettling, thought-provoking and bloody impressive for a debut. Edgerton had my respect, but now he has my attention. I look forward to anything he plans to do in the future.
Now this was a film I expected to love the moment it was announced. Considering The Social Network is one of my favourite movies of all time, another tech genius biopic written by Aaron Sorkin just seemed too perfect. And while I think its not on the same level as Network, Steve Jobs is still an enthralling, inventive narrative about a very flawed but very fascinating individual. Under the experienced hand of Danny Boyle and with genius writer Sorkin, Jobs hits all the right synapses to make this a biopic I’m going to buy and watch frequently on blu-ray.
Now I am conflicted when it comes to Spotlight‘s position on this list. On one hand, its a very traditional Oscar bait film that almost feels engineered to win awards. But on the other hand, its still a deftly crafted investigative narrative around a story that should be told. There’s a real authenticism and shock value that permeates through Spotlight and even the coldest Oscar cynic couldn’t honestly say it was a story worth telling. And even on top of the premise, it boasts and incredible ensemble cast and a measured, grounded tone. It might even deserve Best Picture (if Mad Max didn’t exist that is).
Also known as ‘the movie that got Ridley Scott back on track’. The legendary director has has never quite hit Gladiator level in the last decade and a half of his career, but The Martian happily proved yet again that the man can make a really good movie. Its funny, inspiring and dramatic, and arguably the biggest crowd pleaser of 2015. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t like or love Martian. And that’s awesome for Ridley Scott. Lets just hope its the norm not the exception going forward.
I still swell with emotion just by thinking about Room. A smallish Candian-American indie film about the love between mother and son, Room manipulates emotions as well as Hitchcock controls suspense. Led by two phenomenal performances by Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson (who legitimately had me convinced they were mother and son), Room deserves all the praise heaped upon it, and is an experience I will not soon forget.
Every year there’s one movie I end up loving far more than I expected. And in 2015, that prize goes to Creed. Leading up to Creed, I had only seen the original Rocky and none of the sequels, and while I liked the original it didn’t blow me away like Creed did. A fresh direction, a great lead, and a ridiculously good performance by Sylvester Stallone, this film had me swept up in its grasp from the first punch. The surprise knockout of the year by far.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Now the big one. What can I say about Fury Road that hasn’t already been said. Its brutal, gripping, intense, original and far and beyond the most innovative movie of the year. The guiding hand of Aussie legend George Miller has crafted a near-perfect blockbuster from the rubble a dust of a very troubled production. Its a fast, relentless rollercoaster of fury, stunts and explosions and a movie any action lover should commit to memory. Thanks Hollywood, more movies like this would be great.
Thanks to 2015 being such an impressive year, not every movie can make the cut. Honourable mentions are to give a bit of glory to any film that didn’t quite reach the height of the greats. The honourables for 2015 are:
Bridge of Spies
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Fast and Furious 7
Thanks for reading! If you think I missed a big one I really should have gotten around to seeing (movie watching is tough, I know) let me know in the comments and I’ll see if its worth adjusting the list for its presence. Happy movie watching, and may 2016 be better yet!